» Contact Us
» Advertise With Us
» Newspaper Ads
Kiss' Paul Stanley pulls no punches in new memoir
Writing a memoir was never on Paul Stanley's bucket list. The Kiss frontman and soon to be Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee was probably too busy rocking and rolling all night, and partying every day.
And besides, he says, "I had sworn for, literally, decades not to write an autobiography. I always go back to George Orwell, who said the autobiography is the most outrageous form of fiction. And I would say 90-plus, 95 percent of the autobiographies by any of my contemporaries would be better suited on a roll of soft paper, so at least you could use it for something, 'cause they're nothing more than self-serving fantasies or delusions or love letters to themselves. They serve no purpose."
But somewhere along the line, Stanley changed his tune, and this week he publishes "Face The Music: A Life Exposed," the same week he and Kiss are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during ceremonies on Thursday, April 10, in Brooklyn.
"What I finally came to grips with," Stanley explains, "was the idea that my life could be inspiring to other people...and almost more importantly I wanted something that my children could read when they got older to understand what it took for me to succeed and a better understanding of who I am and perhaps what they need in their lives to move forward.
"So there was a real purpose to this as opposed to just some sort of bragging rights. And certainly I couldn't have written this book if it didn't have a happy ending!"
For Stanley, 62 (born Stanley Eisen in New York City), that's been more than 40 years of membership in one of the world's most successful rock bands -- which has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and has long considered Detroit, where it recorded most of its breakthrough 1975 "Alive!" album, a second home -- as well as triumphs as a painter and singing in the Toronto production of "The Phantom of the Opera." But, as he writes frankly and openly in "Face the Music," that comes after overcoming a highly dysfunctional and unsupportive upbringing as well as being born deaf on his right side and with microtia, an outer ear deformity that led to him being bullied when he was young -- something he says was "too painful" to discuss before.
But Stanley, who's since had the ear surgically reconstructed, isn't looking for medals.
"Y'know, everyone has struggles," explains the twice-married father of four. "I guess my book is about never quitting and about never losing sight of where you're going. Truly, obstacles are what you see when you lose sight of your goals.
"I've always been driven and, at my core, I've always been about my own survival and, for lack of a better word, how I can make it better."
"Face the Music" also has plenty of Kiss tales, including details about Stanley's turbulent relationships with other band members, even his ongoing partner Gene Simmons. The group's success, however, will be celebrated during this week's induction ceremony, but even that hasn't gone smoothly; Stanley and Simmons are upset that the Rock Hall will only induct Kiss' four originals and none of the subsequent members and have declined to play with co-founders Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.
"That it's 14 years on (of eligibility) and we're getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a clear indication that the people who hide behind that moniker don't like us," Stanley says, "but it reached a point where it was so absurd and ludicrous (to exclude Kiss) that they caved." Inducting just the original members only, he adds, is "like them swallowing a teaspoon of medicine they don't want. It's a bitter pill for them to swallow, so they're making it as small as possible."
Nevertheless, the Kiss corps past and present will be in attendance at the ceremony -- which HBO will tape and broadcast in May -- and Stanley is hoping for a pleasant evening for all concerned.
"There's been a lot of issues, and perhaps the best way to deal with them is to celebrate the four original guys and to go get our award and to look past the differences that will always be there," he says. "We have differences and we will continue to have differences, but let's celebrate this moment."
Kiss will be busy the rest of the year as well. Stanley and Simmons just launched the L.A. Kiss, an Arena Football League team, and are planning an extensive series of catalog re-releases as well as a new "Kiss 40" compilation. And it will be on the road this summer with Def Leppard, including an Aug. 23 show at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, although Stanley downlplays that as a 40th anniversary celebration for Kiss' first two albums.
"This far along, everything is an anniversary, y'know?" he says. "Is it more meaningful because it's got a zero on the end? Not to me. Every day surviving and moving toward and keeping Kiss vibrant and vital, it's an anniversary. That means I'm always celebrating something, right?"
Send your thoughts and comments to